Summer, an About.com reader, posted this story to the forum this week. Her daughter, Cheyenne, was born at 32 weeks. Although many 32-weekers have uneventful NICU stays, Cheyenne battled a lot during her 6 weeks in the NICU.
I was a high risk pregnancy from the beginning. I have chronic high blood pressure that is controlled through medication. After 4 long years of waiting for a baby, we finally discovered we were pregnant.
At 6 weeks I started spotting, and was informed that it can happen and to just keep a eye on it. At 13 weeks it finally stopped. And about that time the morning sickness kicked in! At 28 weeks I was put on bed rest due to my blood pressure and gestational diabetes. What was I going to do for another 10-12 weeks? I was sure I was going to go nuts.
On December 21, 2009 I had a normal ultrasound scheduled. I knew something wasn't right from the start. Cheyenne's kicks were not as strong as they were a week before. After being hooked up to a stress test for 2 hours the doctor finally decided to do the ultrasound. Forty five minutes later I was informed that I was having my baby today. She wasn't breathing on the ultrasound, which meant that she was in distress. The one thing that was in our favor, was that I was still able to feel her kick.
My first thought was how is my baby going to survive? Her chances at 32 weeks were better then most, but still not where they should of been. At 9:18 that night Cheyenne was delivered by emergency c section. I was able to hear one cry before she was placed on a vent. That was the most wonderful sound I have ever heard!
Twenty four hours after my surgery I was finally able to go see my daughter. There is nothing in this world to prepare me for my first look at my daughter. Yes I had seen pictures of her in the NICU, but they were nothing compared to the first look.
She was so tiny looking to me. She weighed 4.10 pounds and was 17 inches long. There were tubes, wires, machines and lines all over my daughter. It was truly the scariest sight I have ever seen.
Feelings of guilt, sadness, hurt, anger, rage, love and numbness all ran through me at once. Here was my daughter hooked up to every machine possible, and I wasn't able to do anything at all for her. And the worst comment you can ever make to a NICU parent is "we don't know" or "its up to the baby." Over the next weeks I had melt downs, cried, and threw lots of fits. But I finally learned to listen to the nurses. They were truly angels. They would let me know when they thought she was able to do something, and I would talk to the doctor and push.
We had to battle head bleeds, acid reflux, jaundice, food intolerance, infections, breathing issues, temperature problems, and apnea, but after 6 long weeks in the NICU, with two steps forward and three back sometimes, we were finally able to bring Cheyenne home. She is on a apnea monitor, and we have to stay close to wall outlets, but it is well worth it.
After looking at where we have been to where we are it is like night and day. We had many scares while she was in the hospital but, she is truly a fighter. At 10 weeks old she now weighs 8.6 pounds and is 22 inches long.
Thank you, Summer, for posting Cheyenne's story. I'm sorry that you had to go through so much while she was in the NICU! I hope that she continues to thrive.